Trying to capture the wonder of God's grace.
If grace truly is a free gift from God, then where does that leave me? Am I just a "man-shaped stain on the brightness of that air", unwilling to accept that my "goodness" and "good deeds" are not enough to purchase my rightful entrance in to Heaven? Or am I even capable of grasping the raw truth of Christ's "Bleeding Charity" that makes this incomprehensible gift available to any who would reach out to accept it How could it be "free"? And what is this grace anyway?
C.S. Lewis weaves the image of the saved ones as being more real, full of light and joy, ageless... making the narrator want to dance. From this it would seem that God's grace would lead to joy and perhaps a lightness of heart. I did experience that lightness of heart and the joy as well, in the midst of my husband's brain cancer. We were so secure in knowing that God was healing him, walking by faith - not by sight. From the time of his diagnosis until we got home from Germany the first time and his condition began to deteriorate, during all of that we walked by faith and not by sight. We experienced God's grace and peace and joy. When Larry's condition began to deteriorate and it became necessary to return to Germany to see if there was anything left to try there, perhaps even before, I believe that I began to appear to him as a stain on the brightness of the air, as C.S. Lewis phrased it. Larry would look through me, past me, past even the walls of the hospital rooms, with a glowing look of love on his face as the mists of Heaven began to become more and more real to him, as his spirit became more and more present with Jesus, and less and less attached to us. The unmistakable joy that was his in this time he gifted to those he loved in whatever bits of comfort and consolation he could give to us. How strange that the dying should comfort the living. Were the tears of sorrow that he shed with us in the last days for him or for us? I believe that those tears must surely have been for us. He had already seen, although imperfectly, what lay before him and knew it to be more real, more glorious than anything he had ever known. He knew that the pain and agony of cancer would be forever gone. I believe that his tears were not tears that cried out, "I want to stay here with you!", but rather, "I'm sorry that I cannot take you with me!"
I see Larry now as one of the Solid Bright Ones, so full of joy and wanting to tell everyone of the wonders of God's grace. I love imagining him somewhere like that. He would like it there very much. I am completely at peace in my confidence that Larry is there, in Heaven, tall, strong, beautiful, I know that Larry is whole and complete again.
I know grace is free, but I am unable to comprehend it for very long. My limited, broken human mind is incapable of wrapping itself around this type of concept much more than a few heartbeats at a time. I know that judging others, or rather judging others against my moral yardstick is wrong. That is the destroyer of grace. And yet my yardstick pops out when the news comes on, when I overhear people talking in the store, when I glance over the magazine covers as I wait in the grocery checkout aisle.
I know that mercy is the hand companion of grace, something for which I am very grateful. But do I hold my hand out to all of my neighbors in mercy... and give them grace? Am I better than God that I am not required to give what I have received from Him? Or am I a hoarder? Storing up all of the mercy and grace that Jesus covers me with so freely, just in case He may change His mind... like an insurance policy. "Like a Good Neighbor"? "You're in Good Hands"? "Don't touch my mercy and grace! Go find your own."
Grace is getting what you don't deserve - joyful eternity in the presence of God through Christ Jesus
Mercy is not getting what you do deserve - agonizing eternity apart from God through our own choice.
This is the only case where pro choice is pro Life! How in the world can we keep this gift of grace to ourselves? How can I be a hoarder of God's gift? How can I not share the joy that awaits us all, even if I haven't seen the splendor of it - I know someone who has! And He came back to tell us all.